[Monday Reading] Snow Queen and a Perfect Christmas

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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Award Winning Books Reading Challenge for 2015 (#AWBRead2015)! It’s that time of the year to set new reading goals for the coming year.

Here is the sign up page. Pansing Books has once again generously pledged book prizes (award-winning titles of course) to two randomly-selected participants of this challenge every quarter. Click here to view my announcement post to learn more details. You can also use the widgets below if you are participating in this challenge. You can also use the hashtag #AWBRead2015 if you’re signing up and posting on Twitter.

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Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.

Many thanks, dear Iphigene, for this lovely widget. Truly beautiful.

IMG_7032Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen

Illustrated by: Bagram Ibatoulline
Published byHarper, 2013
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Earlier this year, I read and reviewed Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tales beautifully illustrated by Edmund Dulac. The Snow Queen happens to be one of my favourite stories from that collection. When I saw that artist-extraordinaire Bagram Ibatoulline has a retelling of this classic story, I immediately borrowed it from the public library as it is perfect for our fantasy theme, as well as for Christmas week!

I was glad to note that the story was pretty much close to the original and Ibatoulline has once again awed me with his paintings. While different from Dulac’s style – they have the same lifelike renderings of people and their images, impeccable in its detail. While Dulac had an ethereal, otherworldly quality to his art, Ibatoulline blends the surreal and the real in his rendering of beauty that is simply exquisite.

The Snow Queen as captured by Edmund Dulac

The Snow Queen as captured by Edmund Dulac

Bagram Ibatoulline's Version of The Snow Queen

Bagram Ibatoulline’s Version of The Snow Queen

What I also particularly love about this story is how Gerda was so loyal to her friend Kai, whose heart and eye were pierced by the evil Goblin’s mirror fragment, rendering everything that he sees as distorted, as he became ensnared by The Snow Queen herself.

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Gerda had to travel through various lands, meet so many people from thieves to royalty, to save her friend. At a time when girls are often portrayed as passive, meek, and helpless, readers could see that Hans Christian Andersen was clearly ahead of his time.

The Perfect ChristmasIMG_7026

Written by: Eileen Spinelli Illustrated by: JoAnn Adinolfi
Published by: Christy Ottaviano Books: Henry Holt and Company, 2011
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I simply had to squeeze this one in, despite the fact that it does not really fit into our fantasy theme. In this contemporary story, two families celebrate Christmas – but with strikingly different traditions, practices, and styles.

Family One is clearly more well off – with real Christmas trees, fabulous decorations, picture-perfect meals that are tastefully cooked, chauffeurs, traveling in style, and expensive presents.

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Family Two is the typical middle-class family with artificial trees, cookies that are not meant to be eaten, and decorations bought from bargain bins.

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The differences are highlighted in a matter-of-fact, light, and very humorous way that shows how Christmas can be celebrated beautifully by different families of varying means and resources. A nice tale that reminds us of the truly important things this Christmas week.

Currently Reading…

Still in the thick of reading Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Just when I thought the author could not surprise me anymore, she did so once more. I am enjoying this book and I am nearly finished with it.

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Reading Challenge Update: 299-300 (25)

8 Comments on [Monday Reading] Snow Queen and a Perfect Christmas

  1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is next on my list, Myra. I love Stiefvater’s books! And, love this “Snow Queen” illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. He does so many beautiful ones like The Matchbox Diary ofl last year. Thanks for all, including the Spinelli book, and Happy Holidays to you.

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  2. The Snow Queen looks stunnig! I am hoping that someone will give me Blue Lily, Lily Blue for Christmas. If not, I know what I will spend my Amazon gift card on!

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  3. The Snow Queen looks stunning! I hope someone gives me Blue Lily, Lily Blue for Christmas. If not, I know what I will be spending my Amazon gift card on!

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  4. The Snow Queen looks beautiful! I love pulling these books out to show kids where fairy tales come from… it’s not Disney (even though I love the Disney versions, too)
    I can’t wait to get to the Raven Boys series. It’s in my stacks….

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  5. I can’t wait to read Blue Lily, Lily Blue. However, I feel like I should start all over at the beginning of the series!

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  6. I need to get on the Maggie Stiefvater band wagon, Myra – I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about her books.

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  7. Will definitely be checking out your 2015 reading challenge – I am always curious about new challenges! I am also intrigued by the Christmas story – some of my students have very little exposure to lives different than theirs, so it might be useful conversations.

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  8. I can’t wait to begin Blue Lily – maybe as of tomorrow! Love all of the photos you shared in this post!

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1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales Illuminated by Pavel Tatarnikov (The Snow Queen) and Bagram Ibatoulline (Thumbelina) – Gathering Books

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